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Volkswagen third-quarter 2002 net profit has fallen 51% percent despite a small rise in sales though share values rose slightly as the German automaker stuck to its full-year profit target, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

The WSJ said Europe’s biggest car maker reported a net profit of 439 million euros ($US432.4 million) for Q3, 2002, down 903 million euros in the same period a year earlier. Sales rose 2.2% to 21.21 billion euros from 20.76 billion, the WSJ added.

According to the WSJ, Volkswagen said the profit decline was caused partly by a one-off gain that boosted third-quarter earnings a year ago by 200 million euros.

VW also said that the value of its investments tumbled and that unfavourable foreign-exchange rates and higher warranty and start-up costs took their toll, the Wall Street Journal said.